By Jess E. Trail (June 25, 2005) 
Photo © HBO-PPV
If it were a literal war, one General would use tanks, half-tracks and ground troops – an unblinking frontal assault and battle of attrition and willpower. Some tacticians realize that deep inside the human soul is the spirit of surrender. Buried underneath bravado and self-will is a white flag prepared to wave. There is a communications device which functions to announce to the brain that victory is impossible. For some few, that white flag is not detected until physical breakdown occurs. For fighters, some never show it until they are old and their armor is rusted through. Arturo Gatti is the warrior who goes for the throat of the internal coward. Though he has proven he can stick and move a bit, his primary instinct is to out-will his opponent.

Gatti is the genuine, sincere warrior who enjoys a good, grueling battle and respects the indomitable fighting spirit in others. His refreshing approach has hit a major note with fans.

The other General uses smart bombs, laser guided missiles and pinpoint, computer-guided warfare that is intended to minimize bloody confrontation and maximize selective destruction of enemy posts, communications networks, rendering the opposition ineffective and futile.

Mayweather is a sterling example of advanced skill, while Gatti is what’s seen by many as a cool throwback to a more honorable and manly time.

Floyd Mayweather will never attain the popularity of Arturo Gatti. He is also somewhat of an oddity. He has talent on a scale that is not far removed from that of a Sugar Ray Leonard. He has speed, footwork, and peerless reflexes and ring generalship. He also has underrated power and toughness. However, he lacks presence, popularity and a clear identity. Leonard’s appeal had its roots in unsurpassed, dazzling skill combined with a sincere, appealing personality that conveyed basic goodness and decency. His basic persona came through as one that fans loved – he was an All-American boy who could whip all the bullies.

Mayweather has a bloodline for quality boxing and has surpassed his father and uncle in both talent and achievement. He also has the look to be cast in the role of The Good in the Good vs. Evil saga. It is when the crevice between his nose and chin opens and moves air particles around that he begins to appear as though he might not be carrying that banner.

To be fair, this is boxing. It’s not a prom, a pageant, a barn dance or even a toothless hoedown. I don’t believe that Mayweather gives a damn, for the most part. However, deep down, even if only for financial reasons, he probably wonders why, with his immense talent and accomplishments, he doesn’t have a larger pull that fills seats.

Come Saturday night, I believe that, much to the disappointment of Gatti’s many fans, Mayweather’s hand will be raised via unanimous decision. His vast arsenal, combined with his underrated capability to thrive in tough battle will be too much for Arturo.

And after all is said and done, Gatti will still have a larger fan base. Fighters like him always capture the hearts of fight fans.

Remember Ray Mancini?

SPECIAL: Arturo Gatti vs. Floyd Mayweather MASSIVE Boxing News Archives DHB
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